#1
Recently I have become fixated on my pipe dream of becoming a musician. I am 18, start university in September but I love music and would kill to be able to make a living from it. The only issue is, that this is a pretty outrageous dream and I have become unhealthily fixated on this outrageous dream. I am a pretty average player but I suck at lead, I have no knowledge of musical theory nor technology of the guitar (I can just about change a string!!). I have been playing for 4yrs and my rhythm is okay but my lead is appalling, especially solos which i consciously avoid. That said I have somehow managed to amble my way through the writing process and create a multitude of riffs which sound pretty good imo. Maybe not to metalheads but for indie rock fans like myself they are all right. I posted a few tracks (not the ones on this thread) on another forum and they got positive feedback. However, this only fuelled my desire and i am worried this outrageous dream could distract me from school when i start in September. That's why I am posting here. You guys are notorious for giving brutal honesty and that is required. I would greatly appreciate it if you could take the time to listen to these three tracks i have written and recorded over the past three months. I have ranked them from best to worst (imo) in case you cba to listen to all of them! Could you please give me brutal honesty? I need to be knocked back down to reality.

https://soundcloud.com/dwigt/untitled-demo-chorus
https://soundcloud.com/narddawg-2/zion
https://soundcloud.com/dwigt/untitled-demo

Also, I only started learning bass at Christmas and I am self taught. The bassline on the last track was the first one i came up with and looking back it isn't particularly great but i am very proud of the first track but you may have a different opinion.

Thank you!
#2
I'm a third year Conservatory student and I'm going to be brutally honest.

If you're not a great guitarist don't let your songs rely on the riffs and solo's but on the songwriting. You don't need theory to write (though it can really help you). No one says you should play solo's.
The songwriting in your examples vary. I'm not really into indie-rock but they sound a bit generic at times and other stuff is okay. But it's something you have to learn. Just keep on writing and you'll improve more.
The other thing is your attitude. You look like you're really in doubt and "excusing yourself away." And there's a difference between making music is your dream and making music is what you really like...

But the main thing is that these songs are not complete songs. At least that's what I think. They have no vocals and drums (and keyboard/fx if you want to). Get a drum VST and write some melodies and finish your song. Some stuff is pretty cool but to me it doesn't sound like it's complete yet.
Or is it your goal to only write for guitar and bass and don't start a band? If so, how are you going to perform?

My MAIN advice would be this:
Go to college and put your study first (or decide to fully focus on music) and your music second. Start a band, write music and have fun because that's what it's all about in the end. You'll notice it when people aren't having fun playing and it will backfire. If you really want to make it, put your heart out in it and go all the way. You'll need to. And don't just think about your music, but about your whole ego and everything. Music is a business whether you like it or not...
#3
well you're better than me when I was 18, that's for sure.

With apologies to everyone studying music, I believe that the odds of making a living with music are too small to seriously consider as an option.

That being said, it's ok to study for/work at a job that you are not passionate about as long as you can find an outlet for your passion, in this case music.

When I was about your age and getting ready to enroll in university, my parents gave me the whole "follow your heart and choose a field based on passion and not salary" BS so I spent 3 years getting a history degree because it's what I was passionate about so I thought things would work out well in the end.

Well it turns out that you can be passionate all you want about history, there are no opportunities for someone with that degree. So I got super depressed with my retail job for a year or two but then I realized that if I was ok with not being in love with a job, I could just go back to school in something that would at least make me money.

So a year later, after a few IT and telecommunications classes, I started a job that I wasn't passionate about either but that paid twice the salary of my old job and gave me enough free time to focus on my band....

Which is really where I'm getting at. You're going to be working forty hours a week, probably sleeping another forty or fifty. That leaves you eighty-ish hours of free time per week that you can dedicate entirely to music if you wish. You can get a lot done in that time.


My point is that even if you get an actual job in an office or as a plumber or whatever, you'll still have more than enough time to devote to music and trying to make it! The upside is that you'll have more money for gear and you'll have a solid plan B if(when) you realize you're not getting that million dollar contract.

That being said, if you want to be in a working band, my advice (on top of what maximuse said) is to develop a second skill-set. You still need to work on your guitar and recording skills but that's not enough. When you get together with guys and get a few songs together, you'll need graphics, posters, marketing, contacts in the bar scene (you never have enough of these), technical skills for sound system and basic electronics and equipment maintenance, a jam space and a PA, promotion etc. Who is going to have to do all that? You...
Last edited by flexiblemile at Jul 2, 2014,
#4
It's alright I think. I only actually listened to the first link and while it's generic I don't think that means much if you can put something catchy on top. Pearl Jams more recent simplistic style at it's core is quite generic for example but it's what they do with it that makes it special.

I think it's more than possible to at least start working on your dream while going to university or college. Doing good in post secondary education is almost entirely time management. Go to class, dedicate some time to study/write, and then the rest is free for your hobbies.
#5
I think both before me already said everything. I want to enfasize on what MaxiMuse said. These are not real songs. Not even close of being finished. You need to be able to finish songs. That is the most fun part of it! Get a drum vst, a cheap midi keyboard, a cheap mic to sing along and you are good to go.

I wanted to study music when i was 16-17, i realized i wasn't "that good". Time has passed by, I'm 27, with an university degree on business administration & economics, winning tons of money lately i'm not able to spend. What i've done with music? I've buyed guitars, homestudio, monitors, basses, etc. It's my main hobbie, i love music, I hope to record a professional album at least once in my life. I've played in many local bands, etc. but it's my hobbie (a very expensive one) but my hobbie, not my profession.

I know people who studied music and are broke now, also knew people who studied music and after studied other degrees. I've known very few sucessful musicians ($$$), and they are very very talented, known everything in theory, virtuoso level on their instruments, etc. And they make living by being hired by bands, playing in studio and teaching at school and university. I still play with one of them sometimes, he surpases me on every level, but i bring sometimes some creative SONGS sometimes that i blow his mind lol.

so being brutal: No, I think you should not take that past at least at this moment. Keep it as a hobbie. As your "MAIN HOBBIE", learn to mix, to program drums (pain in the ass) to learn other instruments, a bit of theory on the net, even you can take courses on your university (one of my best courses was an optative called Literature & Rock music)

sorry for the wall of text, i feel like writing to myself when i was 17-18 lol
Since 2002 using UG. This page teached me how to play guitar and help'd me to embrace the passion of my life: Music.
#6
Getting paid to make music isn't about being good, it's about being thick skinned and relentlessly motivated to push yourself out there.

If you want to make art, don't make it your job, if you want to make it your job you're probably not going to be making art.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#7
I agree with everything said here. I was in exactly the same boat at the same age. I was so fixated on music that I've missed an opportunity. A year and a half later and I'm still working retail. Spend your time getting the best grades possible, and start looking for a job early. Put that at the top of your list and music second. Not saying don't follow your dreams, just the sad reality is the world doesn't seem to care about what you wish would happen. You'd rather be set up with a decent job and free time to work on music. Then hopefully grow it into something you can sustain yourself on but you will never be able to if you are working overtime just trying to pay the bills.

Your songs are ok for the first songs but nothing that stands out enough to grab attention. Won't sugar coat it, you'd need to improve, find a fantastic singer, better writing, and professional recording to even possibly have someone listen for more than 10 seconds, especially any recording producer. Not saying you can't get to that point one day, who knows, but focus on where you are now or you won't ever have a chance to get there anyways. It's ok to be proud about something you've created, it feels great, just be humble about it too.
#8
Quote by MaXiMuse
I'm a third year Conservatory student and I'm going to be brutally honest.

If you're not a great guitarist don't let your songs rely on the riffs and solo's but on the songwriting. You don't need theory to write (though it can really help you). No one says you should play solo's.
The songwriting in your examples vary. I'm not really into indie-rock but they sound a bit generic at times and other stuff is okay. But it's something you have to learn. Just keep on writing and you'll improve more.
The other thing is your attitude. You look like you're really in doubt and "excusing yourself away." And there's a difference between making music is your dream and making music is what you really like...

But the main thing is that these songs are not complete songs. At least that's what I think. They have no vocals and drums (and keyboard/fx if you want to). Get a drum VST and write some melodies and finish your song. Some stuff is pretty cool but to me it doesn't sound like it's complete yet.
Or is it your goal to only write for guitar and bass and don't start a band? If so, how are you going to perform?

My MAIN advice would be this:
Go to college and put your study first (or decide to fully focus on music) and your music second. Start a band, write music and have fun because that's what it's all about in the end. You'll notice it when people aren't having fun playing and it will backfire. If you really want to make it, put your heart out in it and go all the way. You'll need to. And don't just think about your music, but about your whole ego and everything. Music is a business whether you like it or not...


Thanks for the advice!

I guess I am "excusing myself away" because I want to be able to have a stable job but be able to have a go at making it at the same time.

I would like to start a band at university but my biggest hang-up is whether or not my existing songs are good enough to be performed. Obviously when I start the band I will look for a singer, drummer and keyboard player, so the songs will sound more... Complete.

Another quick question: as much as I like playing rhythm, since learning the bass I have more fun playing basslines than chords... If I were to join a band at university as a bassist would I still have the creative freedom? I imagine i would but the tracks would already be laid down and it would be up to the bassist, drummer, etc. to fill over the rhythm? If so that's cool.
#9
Quote by flexiblemile
well you're better than me when I was 18, that's for sure.

With apologies to everyone studying music, I believe that the odds of making a living with music are too small to seriously consider as an option.

That being said, it's ok to study for/work at a job that you are not passionate about as long as you can find an outlet for your passion, in this case music.

When I was about your age and getting ready to enroll in university, my parents gave me the whole "follow your heart and choose a field based on passion and not salary" BS so I spent 3 years getting a history degree because it's what I was passionate about so I thought things would work out well in the end.

Well it turns out that you can be passionate all you want about history, there are no opportunities for someone with that degree. So I got super depressed with my retail job for a year or two but then I realized that if I was ok with not being in love with a job, I could just go back to school in something that would at least make me money.

So a year later, after a few IT and telecommunications classes, I started a job that I wasn't passionate about either but that paid twice the salary of my old job and gave me enough free time to focus on my band....

Which is really where I'm getting at. You're going to be working forty hours a week, probably sleeping another forty or fifty. That leaves you eighty-ish hours of free time per week that you can dedicate entirely to music if you wish. You can get a lot done in that time.


My point is that even if you get an actual job in an office or as a plumber or whatever, you'll still have more than enough time to devote to music and trying to make it! The upside is that you'll have more money for gear and you'll have a solid plan B if(when) you realize you're not getting that million dollar contract.

That being said, if you want to be in a working band, my advice (on top of what maximuse said) is to develop a second skill-set. You still need to work on your guitar and recording skills but that's not enough. When you get together with guys and get a few songs together, you'll need graphics, posters, marketing, contacts in the bar scene (you never have enough of these), technical skills for sound system and basic electronics and equipment maintenance, a jam space and a PA, promotion etc. Who is going to have to do all that? You...


Thanks for your advice

I am going to study history at university so that's a little concerning! My back-up plan is to become a teacher which is pretty easy in the UK and requires a 1yr degree on top of the undergrad degree, so if all else fails...

Yeah, getting a job is my priority but I am worried if I let myself think that becoming a musician is possible I may become lax and end up distracting from stable jobs. I know many of my favourite artists got jobs that kept them ticking over whilst they focused on music: Paul Banks of Interpol worked in a cafe and later data entry and Adam Granduciel of the War on Drugs worked in a cafe late at night and recorded during the day. These are obviously anomalies and I imagine there are many cafe workers who are trying to become musicians, etc. So I will set my sights on a more stable career.

Thanks again!
#10
Quote by tiky
I think both before me already said everything. I want to enfasize on what MaxiMuse said. These are not real songs. Not even close of being finished. You need to be able to finish songs. That is the most fun part of it! Get a drum vst, a cheap midi keyboard, a cheap mic to sing along and you are good to go.

I wanted to study music when i was 16-17, i realized i wasn't "that good". Time has passed by, I'm 27, with an university degree on business administration & economics, winning tons of money lately i'm not able to spend. What i've done with music? I've buyed guitars, homestudio, monitors, basses, etc. It's my main hobbie, i love music, I hope to record a professional album at least once in my life. I've played in many local bands, etc. but it's my hobbie (a very expensive one) but my hobbie, not my profession.

I know people who studied music and are broke now, also knew people who studied music and after studied other degrees. I've known very few sucessful musicians ($$$), and they are very very talented, known everything in theory, virtuoso level on their instruments, etc. And they make living by being hired by bands, playing in studio and teaching at school and university. I still play with one of them sometimes, he surpases me on every level, but i bring sometimes some creative SONGS sometimes that i blow his mind lol.

so being brutal: No, I think you should not take that past at least at this moment. Keep it as a hobbie. As your "MAIN HOBBIE", learn to mix, to program drums (pain in the ass) to learn other instruments, a bit of theory on the net, even you can take courses on your university (one of my best courses was an optative called Literature & Rock music)

sorry for the wall of text, i feel like writing to myself when i was 17-18 lol


I do have a MIDI keyboard but i am a novice to it and only have 1 "ok" riff i guess you call it

I can sing okay at home, but I am pretty shy and can't see myself performing vocally in front of people. I am fine playing my guitar for people just not singing.

I only view this as a hobby at the moment, but I was worried about this hobby consuming me and distracting me from reality


Thank you!
#11
Quote by Arby77
I agree with everything said here. I was in exactly the same boat at the same age. I was so fixated on music that I've missed an opportunity. A year and a half later and I'm still working retail. Spend your time getting the best grades possible, and start looking for a job early. Put that at the top of your list and music second. Not saying don't follow your dreams, just the sad reality is the world doesn't seem to care about what you wish would happen. You'd rather be set up with a decent job and free time to work on music. Then hopefully grow it into something you can sustain yourself on but you will never be able to if you are working overtime just trying to pay the bills.

Your songs are ok for the first songs but nothing that stands out enough to grab attention. Won't sugar coat it, you'd need to improve, find a fantastic singer, better writing, and professional recording to even possibly have someone listen for more than 10 seconds, especially any recording producer. Not saying you can't get to that point one day, who knows, but focus on where you are now or you won't ever have a chance to get there anyways. It's ok to be proud about something you've created, it feels great, just be humble about it too.


Thanks

Re: songs not standing out. Once I get to university and start a band and have other instruments on the top. Would they be good enough to perform?
#14
Quote by svgenderen
Love the three songs. Keep up the good work!


Thanks
#15
Your songs are simple but have potential. Need compelling lyrics, theme and melody to really make them come to life.

Don't give up on your history degree. A friend got her undergrad in history/religious studies and then a MA in education. At 28 she makes $80k/yr teaching with summers off.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Jul 5, 2014,
#16
Quote by Cajundaddy
Your songs are simple but have potential. Need compelling lyrics, theme and melody to really make them come to life.

Don't give up on your history degree. A friend got her undergrad in history/religious studies and then a MA in education. At 28 she makes $80k/yr teaching with summers off.


Thanks, I have been aiming for simple I had cluttered songs with lots of complex riffs

Thanks for comments on my academic pursuits